LAMPASAS — Volleyball is a game of streaks.
The Harker Heights Lady Knights have a simple formula to create the streaks. Head coach Chris Wiley stresses strong defense and solid serves.
He got both in spades and the Lady Knights streaked passed the Lampasas Lady Badgers in three games, winning 25-17, 25-8, 25-3 Tuesday night.
“We’ve worked really hard to get to the point where we can make runs,” Wiley said.
The hard worked paid off, most notably in the match’s final set, where senior Katie Schulte started by serving her team to five straight points before sending the ball out of bounds to make the score 5-1.
“It’s amazing because last year we were juniors and we didn’t get to lead that much but now we get to step up and dominate teams like (we did today),” said senior Deysia Burden.
After a Lampasas (3-5) error the score was 6-1, that’s when Heights’ Caitlyn Young stepped to the server’s line and reeled off 16 straight serves that ended with four straight aces.
“Serving is normally my strong point but I didn’t expect to get that many in a row,” said the senior. “I’m always trying to hit the spot that my coach says because it’s probably going to be an ace.”
Young was surprised and excited and her smile showcased both emotions as each point added to the streak.
“That is not something you normally see in high school volleyball. Runs like that are so uncommon,” Wiley said. “She treated it like a tennis game. She kept Lampasas moving. She’d hit it long then short and made it very difficult for them to have opportunities.”
In that game, the Lady Badgers only managed to record a combined three serves, which was a far cry from the match’s first game, which was the most competitive.
But even then, Harker Heights (9-2) used a huge run to build a lead. Behind the serving of Schulte, the Lady Knights raced out to a 12-0 lead, which included four aces. However, the Lady Badgers fought back and actually outplayed Heights for the remainder of the game by outscoring them 17-13, but they couldn’t dig themselves out of the deep hole.
Despite the lopsided defeat, first-year Lampasas coach Kecia Davis plans to schedule bigger and tougher teams.
“I’m always gonna schedule the tougher teams in preseason so by the time we get to district we will be a well-oiled machine,” she said.
But it was Heights that ran smoothly.
Schulte’s serving helped build leads but her setting had an ever bigger bearing on the match’s outcome.
She led all players with 29 assists to go along with her four aces. On a night built on streaks, the senior setter assisted three different players during a run that saw a 1-0 Lampasas lead balloon to a 10-3 Lady Knights advantage.
“They say the setter is like the quarterback, it really excites me because I get to be like the floor general and call plays and stuff,” said the third-year varsity starter.
During the run, Schulte connected with fellow seniors Anjane Janda and Shantraie Rodriguez and also junior Kathleen Janda two times each.
“Some of us have been playing together for five or six years so we are like a family. It’s all one unit and that’s how we play,” she said. “I have full faith that the other girls will be where they are supposed to be.”